Ryan Poliakoff - Beastmen

The Cult of the Slaughterer's Blade

by Ryan Poliakoff

Part 2: Pinning, Priming and Playing
Thank heavens for the holidays! This army project came just in time to collect on a family's worth of presents, dulling the impact of the army on my wallet. Still, at $15 a pop, a Minotaur army is an expensive proposition.

I spent the better part of November collecting my bitz and assembling the army. I now remember why I hate large pewter models. They're a pain to keep from chipping, they weigh a ton, and they�re difficult to convert. Still, by the end of the month I had the entire force up and running, in all of its bare metal glory.

After the glow of inspiration had faded, I took a look at my list and decided to make some adjustments. Here's my new list, complete with the figures I'm using for the models:

Lord & Heroes
Angus the Doombull
Nurgle Doombull with Heavy Armor, Slaughterer's Blade
No change here. A tough lord with a wound regenerating great weapon, and fluffy to boot. I'm using the GW Doombull model, but I removed the weapon from one hand, added the cleaver blade from a Minotaur with a two-handed weapon onto the other weapon handle, and I sculpted a butcher's apron out of Green Stuff. I also added Green Stuff pustules, snot and genitalia (It's a DoomBULL, folks. Gotta have the entire package.). This is the first model I completed (I always complete my general first, while I'm motivated). The paint job took about 25 hours, and represents my first attempt at Non-Metallic Metallics. I dedicated the entire month of December to the Doombull.

Bray Shaman
Level 1 Shaman, Undivided, with two Dispel Scrolls
My scroll caddy. Since I never expect him to enter combat, I don't bother with a Braystaff. After he uses his dispel scrolls, I hide him for the duration of the battle. Until then he travels with a small unit of Beastmen for protection. I'm using a regular Bray Shaman model.

Core Units
7 Minotaurs with Great Weapons, Light Armor and Standard
This is my first central combat unit. Fear causing, US 24 (with the Doombull), 9 s6 attacks on the charge not including the lord. It has proven pretty strong in my practice games, rarely getting defeated before turn 6 (and taking out several of my opponent's units in the process). I'm using standard Minotaur models, but I'll give them Green Stuff Pustules and Zombie cowbells. For the standard bearer I used the GW model, but I added a Vampire Counts banner (the one made out of a skinned human).

25 Pestigors with full command
My second central unit. I have played around with the command structure and which banner to give this unit, but I have settled on full command with a War Banner. Perhaps my biggest surprise with the Pestigors is that they don't play as tough as one might imagine. Again, standard models.

Specialty units
I use these on whichever flank needs extra protection, or wherever I need some punch for a flank charge.

3 Nurgle Minotaurs
Great Weapons, Light Armor

3 Nurgle Minotaurs
2 Hand Weapons, Light Armor

10 Beastmen
Musician, 5 Gors and 5 Ungors
This unit is surprisingly tough--I was able to whittle down a Brentonnian cavalry unit with a flank charge and some help from a spawn.

I converted the Beastmen using parts from the Beastmen, Marauders, Zombie and Skeleton sprues. Some have Marauder bodies and beast heads, some have Beastmen bodies and Marauder heads, some have zombie heads with horns, etc.

5 Warhounds
The must-have bait unit--kept as far from the rest of the army as possible to avoid panicking my troops. I'm using regular Chaos Warhounds.

1 Tuskgor Chariot
Every good slaughterhouse needs a meat wagon, and a Tuskgor Chariot works perfectly. I am using the regular Beastman Chariot, but I will model the crew walking next to the chariot and fill the chariot itself with dead zombie bodies. I also removed the second set of horns on one of the Tuskgors.

Special Units
6 Chaos Furies
March blockers/war machine interdiction. So far, 6 seems to be the magic number. I had intended to convert these from Tomb Kings Carrion, but they were way too big for the 25mm bases. So Nidal had the excellent idea to use the Warmaster Carrion models. I used green stuff to give them chicken combs and wattles, and now they're flying demon chickens.

Rare Units
2 Nurgle Spawn
Another addition to my original list. I really needed some extra flank protection, and spawn are hard to pass up. Which models I use depends on timing. I already have two Chaos Dwarf Taurus models that I converted for my Tomb Kings army (as Scorpions). They would be fine as living cow idols. I may also use the Albion Fenbeast models, if I can still find some, and give them cow heads. We'll see.

Halfling Hot Pot
Aside from providing one of the most cost-effective war machines in the game, the Hot Pot makes a perfect cooking pot for my slaughterhouse army. I purchased a pot from a dollhouse store, and I will model it on a campfire with archive Ungors as the chefs.

Playtesting and Progress:

I recently competed in the Warmonger Club November Fantasy Tournament, and I was quite happy with my performance--it was my first gaming tourney of any kind. I ended up with a win, a loss and a draw, and I tied for 3rd place with four or five other people. Since then, I have been running about 50/50. Some days I blow through opponents (especially low toughness opponents), and some days I get slaughtered. Here are my first impressions.

I have the most difficulty with heavy magic opponents. Once I use my dispel scrolls (which happens in the first or second round), I really have no way to stop every dangerous spell. My great weapon Pestigors managed to decimate themselves with the Tzeentch "everybody attack each other" spell, and my Minotaurs have been nearly run off the table by Screaming Skull Catapults. Still, I don't want to resort to magic to make this list work. I have lost close games to Rob's tournament-winning Bretonnians and Brook's tough-as-nails Tomb Kings. I think with practice I'll be able to maximize my gameplay against magic-heavy opponents. For now, I just have to enter close combat as quickly as possible.

On the other hand, my ranked Minotaurs have proven dominating with a LD9, S7 Doombull. But perhaps the biggest surprise has been the utility of the small Minotaur units, which are an even match for fast cavalry and smaller units of foot soldiers. And the Hot Pot makes its points every single game.

The army is a ton of fun to play. It's all maneuvering, baiting, redirecting and flanking, which is what Fantasy is really about.

The biggest challenge, of course, is trying to finish painting an entire tournament-quality army in four months. So far I have finished my Doombull, Furies, the chariot for my meat wagon and my Warhounds. I have dedicated the last two weeks of January to my Pestigors, and I hope to be finished by the end of the month. In February I will paint my Beastmen, Bray Shaman and the Minotaurs. March will be dedicated to the Hot Pot, stray models, messengers, Spawn and the base.

Certainly, my rank and file troops are not being painted to my absolute highest standard. Still, I'm fairly happy with the speed-painting results that I'm achieving. Right now I'm averaging 1.5 to 2 hours per model. I have settled on a standard painting order: I drybrush mail armor and fur, I block paint base colors on the entire model, I wash the entire model with Sepia ink, and then I add 3 highlight layers per color. This allows me to be reasonably sloppy right up until the final layer, which is key to my speed. The effect is reasonably Nurgly, and reasonably high quality.

Other than finishing my painting, my goal for the next two months is to play as many different opponents as possible. Certain things you just can't know until you play enough games. Here's some things I learned at the recent tournament:

  • Don't let your best fear-causing unit get engaged with Dwarf Slayers
  • Don't get anywhere near a unit with a Dwarf Lord. Run away! Run away!
  • Screaming Skull Catapults suck. Suck, suck, suck, suck, suck.
So until next time...

Created by: system. Last Modification: Monday 26 of January, 2009 12:49:10 AM EST by ZiggyQubert.

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